Chattanooga State Community College is partnering with the city of Chattanooga and Hamilton County to launch new initiatives to strengthen Chattanooga's international populations and leverage their diversity to create new resources.
The goal is to build opportunity for the entire community, according to a prepared statement.
The effort centers on the establishment of the area's first Cultural Ambassador and International Achiever networks, which will be composed of leaders from each of Chattanooga's international communities. Both traditional and nontraditional foreign-born students will form the achievers group, while a range of foreign-born professionals and leaders will form the ambassadors. They will work together to serve as liaisons between the groups they represent and the local partners working to understand their needs.
"Our Cultural Ambassador and International Achiever initiatives are an expansion upon the International Ambassador network the Chattanooga Chamber established in 2012," Dr. Jim Catanzaro, president of Chattanooga State, said in a prepared statement. "As we build upon this existing resource, we hope to establish stronger relationships with diverse populations in our area, so we can better understand their distinctive needs. This will enable us to collaborate in creating new pathways for the attainment of postsecondary education while serving a range of resource needs across all areas of the community."
The program was established Aug. 29 in a community ceremony, and moving forward, participants plan to meet quarterly to provide perspective on the challenges facing the college, county and city in their international outreach, inclusion and engagement efforts. The two groups will support local partners in hosting international delegations, delivering educational programming, responding to inquiries from other countries and promoting opportunities to access higher education.
"Heightened activity among Chattanooga’s newer and established international communities has exposed new opportunities for us to engage their voices across the civic spectrum," Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said in a prepared statement. "The International Ambassador and Cultural Achiever initiatives provide the essential framework for turning their unique perspectives into actionable insights. This is a tremendous resource for Hamilton County, and we’re delighted to join our partners at Chattanooga State in cultivating this network for the benefit of our entire community."
To learn more about or become involved with the Cultural Ambassadors and International Achievers initiatives, contact Gladys Pineda-Loher at 423-697-3204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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